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About Domestic Tales

This year’s season of ‘Shorts’ includes two Modern Australian Comedies.
A Place in the Present, by Ron Blair, is set in a railway station waiting area - dirty, smelly and a place you would choose to use as a shelter only in the most awful weather and have you ever been a magnet for nutters at the railway station?

JOY , was written a few years ago. The Author, local Playwright, Actor & Director Peter Nethercote describes the play as ‘a preposterous comedy’, because, in the course of one day, Joy, a secondary school teacher endures a succession of unfortunate happenings, which are perfectly possible, but unlikely to come together in one day. The title is therefore also ironic.

These two short plays will be preceded by two Classic Russian Comedies.
The Evils of Tobacco and The Bear both written by Anton Chekhov.

4th July to 11th July 2009

  • Genre: Drama

  • Playwright: Anton Chekhov

  • Director: Mary-Rose McLaren, Sue Pilbeam & Peter Nethercote


Janette Baxter

Brendon Clarke

Joanne Davis

Trevor Day

Erin Foster

Letecia Frost

Eamonn George

Lesley Hale

Ross Hall

Chris Holmes

Marg Jarvis

Robert Kelty

Sonja Kinnersly

Barrie Causland

Elizabeth Hardiman

Brian McClelland

Betti McKay

James McLaren

Matt Noble

Gail Sjogren

Haydn Vincent


  • Director - The Bear

    Sue Pilbeam

  • Director - Joy

    Peter Nethercote

  • Director - A Place in the Present

    Mary-Rose McLaren

  • Stage Manager

    Sally Read

  • Lighting Design

    Robert Selway-Hoskins

  • Lighting Crew

    Toni Decini

  • Sound Recording

    Michael Zala

  • Sound Operation

    Lincoln Hunt


Reviewer: Nina Valentine

A Ballarat National Theatre is presenting a mixed bag of one-act plays at the Courthouse Theatre from Saturday 4rh July.

The entree to the choice of three main courses is a masterly presentation by Ross Hall of Chekhov's The Evils of Tobacco. The monologue has little to do with smoking, but this actor certainly proved that "the dummy behaved himself properly!"

Then come the three short plays. Again Chekhov, this time The Bear, with Joanne Davis as the grieving (?) widow, Robert Kelty as the creditor and Barrie McCausland as the long suffering servant. They are excellently cast and well directed by Susan Pilbeam. This is Susan's first work for the BNT - we can only hope it will not be her last.

A change of pace with A Place in the Present, directed by Mary-Rose McLaren, relinquishing acting for her first direction. One act plays give so many people a chance to do something they've not tackled before, and therefore are to be commended. This is not an easy story for it takes place on a railway station platform, where a drunk (nicely played by Haydn Vincent) turns out to be the ex-husband of the woman waiting for her train. Sonia Kinnersley is suitably irritated and perplexed by this unexpected event, particularly as her fellow would-be passenger is a magician, whose talents are sorely tried. Mayhem results.

Finally we have Joy, written and directed by Ballarat's talented Peter Nethercote.
Peter uses tried and true National Theatre stalwarts in cameo roles, arrayed around his central character, Joy, a headmistress who is having much more than a bad hair day! Playing a role in Ballarat for the first time is Christine Holmes, an acquisition we can be very pleased about. Using a minimilist setting, Nethercote asks a great deal of his cast, and to their credit they live up to his expectations.
This is an enjoyable night of theatre playing from the 4th to the 11th of July at 8pm, with a matinee at 2pm on Sunday 5th.